Terrorism Financing Laws in Singapore
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Terrorism Financing Laws in Singapore
As a major international trade and financial centre, Singapore faces high risks of being exploited by criminals and syndicates involved in transnational crimes, such as terrorism financing activities. Terrorism financing refers to the illegal act of supporting terrorist acts, for example, by transferring money to a terrorist organisation.
Singapore has introduced various laws to address these threats, one of which is the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA) which criminalises the financing of terrorism and terrorist acts.
The TSOFA was introduced in 2002 to give effect to the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which is a United Nations treaty that Singapore adopted in 2001.
Scope of the TSOFA
Sections 3 to 6 of the TSOFA criminalises acts such as:
- Providing/collecting property (such as vehicles, buildings, intangible assets like patents, or legal documents like bonds or shares) that will be used to commit a terrorist act;
- Providing/collecting property and services that will be used to facilitate or carry out a terrorist act (including financing the travel of an individual to any place to engage in terrorist training) or that will benefit terrorists;
- Using/possessing property that will be used to facilitate or carry out a terrorist act; and
- Dealing with any property owned by or controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist or terrorist entity.
Abetment of, or a conspiracy or an attempt to commit, an offence under section 3, 4, 5 or 6 of the TSOFA is an offence.
It is also an offence under section 8(1) of TSOFA if:
- A person fails to disclose to the police that he has possession, custody or control of terrorist property, or information regarding a transaction in terrorist property; or
- A person fails to comply with a requirement by the police to furnish further information or particulars.
Note: This write-up does not cover other offences under the TSOFA such as the non-disclosure of information about acts of terrorism financing under section 10.
Section 34 of the TSOFA provides for extra-territorial jurisdiction for offences under sections 3, 4 or 5 of the TSOFA that are committed outside Singapore by Singapore citizens or any person. For an offence under section 6 or 8 of the TSOFA committed by a Singapore citizen outside Singapore, he may be dealt with as if the offence had been committed in Singapore.
Key offences and penalties
On 1 April 2019, further amendments were introduced to the TSOFA to enhance penalties for offenders to ensure greater deterrence, as well as provide stronger enforcement power to the authorities. The key offences under the TSOFA and their respective penalties are summarised below:
Section 3: Prohibition against providing or collecting property for terrorist acts
Individuals - a fine not exceeding $500,000 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years.
Others (e.g. a corporation) - a fine not exceeding the higher of $1 million or twice the value of the property, financial services or other related services, or financial transaction (as the case may be) in respect of which the offence was committed.
Section 4: Prohibition against provision of property and services for terrorist purposes
Section 5: Prohibition against use or possession of property for terrorist purposes
Section 6: Prohibition against dealing with property of terrorists
Section 6B: Abetment, etc. of offences under sections 3, 4, 5 or 6
A person who abets, conspires or attempts to commit a terrorism financing offence under section 3, 4, 5 or 6 of the TSOFA will be liable to the same punishment as if the person had committed the offence under the applicable section(s).
Section 8: Duty to disclose
The penalty is tiered into three categories with differentiated punishments, to reflect the differing culpability of groups that commit an offence under this section:
The court may also, on application by the Public Prosecutor, order an individual’s property to be seized, frozen from use or forfeited to the government.
The infographic below provides an overview of the terrorism financing laws in Singapore.